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And then there were two.

After entering the preseason with five serious candidates vying for handoffs out of the backfield this fall, the Wyoming Cowboys now have just two.First senior Dwight Driver was sidelined by grades. Then sophomore Ryan Christopherson sprained his right knee. Now sophomore Terry Hendricks is out with a surgically repaired left shoulder.

That leaves redshirt freshman Dana Day and true freshman Damon Turner to take the ball from quarterback Joe Hughes when Wyoming opens the season Saturday at home against Nevada.

"They can run every bit as good as everyone else," sports information director Kevin McKinney said this morning of Day and Turner. "But I don't know if they can block. It's going to be a key for them."

Both youngsters have earned praise from coach Joe Tiller, although even he doesn't know if they can carry the poise and success they've shown in practice to the game field.

Hendricks, meanwhile, is headed to the rehabilitation room following surgery Sunday to repair damaged ligaments.

"He'll get out (of the hospital) today," McKinney said. "They'll start rehabilitating tomorrow. It looks like five to six weeks, at least."

While Driver could hear by today whether a summer school course had improved his academic standing, the sports information director doubted that the tailback would be ready to start against Nevada.

"I wouldn't expect Driver to be ready this week. He hasn't practiced at all," McKinney said.

When Christopherson was injured last week Tiller said he would be out for at least 10 days, but since then the head coach has spoken encouragingly of his recuperative efforts.

As of today, though, McKinney said it was doubtful that the fullback would see any action Saturday.